Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

Finally had time to get my big Moth up and running well. And it is a treat.

My ZD is really sorted right now and very good with my HD800. Reminding me how good it is. Not a ZD Super, but has had some work by Craig/Marv a few years ago to update it some.

The Moth is better with modded 650. I tried lots of headphones with Moth the other night. I suspect I could roll NOS in place of the new production 6SL7GT driver tubes but it it is already very good! The leading edge transients on Moth are ridiculous, lots of good/quick detail with mids to treble. But with 800 needs some smoothing on top and a bit more bottom end. Elex would be good but bass is missing some control, probably due to needing to adjust internal jumpers for lower impedance. I need to see where the jumpers are at for the speaker impedance inside.

Still some lower level hum with Moth at higher volume levels that might be a ground thing. Using an Isomax though for everything on the table...not as bad as when resistors were bad on regulators. Pulled out the HD600 today. Craig did recommend that exact headphone in the Moth manual...prefer Marv-modded HD650 for cleaner bass.
I can't remember anymore what caused it, but at some point 2-3 months ago, the Dave caught my eye. I don't remember if it was a post somewhere, or a video on Youtube. But something made me pay attention to it. It was then that I started reading more about the Dave and watching some of Rob Watt's presentations. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Chord products don't have a good rep here at SBAF, so I hadn't ever even considered them or paid attention to them or their tech outside of seeing people meme about the tap counts Rob Watts talks about.


The more I read about the tech inside, the more intrigued I got about the Dave. The things Rob Watts was saying about digital filtering lined up alot more with what I know about digital sampling from my signals and systems classes in school and reading I've done since. (As an aside, Rob Watts has alot of ideas, right or wrong, about why we hear differences in things that we do, his blog on head-fi is an interesting read). I never in a million years thought the Dave would actually be my preferred DAC versus the Wavedream. Based on the other impressions I have read I thought it would turn out to just be soso, and I would sell it off and go about my business, but I was still interested enough to want to hear one, and I wanted to give it a fair shake, postulating that the filtering may take time to appreciate, so I decided to purchase one.
I had planned on getting a Cambridge Audio Azur 851N in for review until COVID messed up the world. Like the Convert 2, the Azure 851N uses the AD1955 part. This is a part that I feel could be one of the best delta sigma chips around, along with the prior generation AKM4399 (used on the Burl B2). I've simply never heard a bad sounding DAC using the AD1955. This is where the ERC-4 comes along. I'm a cheapskate, and I also look for very basic functionality. The Azur 851N is $1500 and has a lot of functionality that I don't need. This is when someone reminded me of Emotiva. Of course! How could I forget them. After all, I've been recommending Emotiva Class AB amps as entry level alternatives to Class D horrors for years now. The Emotiva ERC-4 comes in at $600, which is a bargain. It also can be used as a CD Player (or transport). I know this is extra functionality; but I still have old CDs around and my wife prefers physical media instead of having to mess with Roon.

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The downside is that there is no USB input. The ERC-4 only has coax and optical inputs. If we want USB functionality, grab a cheap used Schiit Eitr (good synergy) or Singxer USB to SPDIF converter. A little bit extra cost, but the ERC-4 at $600 is somewhat of a steal. The sound is closer to that of the well-regarded Convert-2 than the Lavry DA11. The tl;dr version is that the ERC-4 doesn't have the murkiness in the lows of the DA11. It exhibits the clarity, excitement, and sweetness of the Convert-2, and may actually be more resolving...
Hey man. So this was a really good question. We started off in the wax cylinder days of just using one mic direct to disc or film. We moved people around, changed the sound by different mic positions and mics, and eqs were invented in the 20s and were broad to make one mic sound like another than to correct sound problems. This lasted until the Germans developed analog tape. We, the English speaking world, had good RCA mics yet no idea how German radio broadcasts repeated themselves so clearly (we had... shellac lol) until we found tape machines in the rubble of World War II. Suddenly there was a canvas on which to process sound. You could bounce between two of them! And as tape machines got more tracks, more processing and more realistic recordings became possible...
I'm just going to announce after d'ing around with over a dozen gaming headsets that the PC38X is the one to get above all others. The only exception would be if one needed closed headphones, of which I do have a recommendation (it also happens to be second place), which I will discuss later. I've tried Turtle Beach, Hyper X, SteelSeries (yuck), etc. All of this is stuff is basically garbage made by OEMs in China. I need to check out more EPOS / Sennheiser stuff, but I suspect it could be reshelled variants of PC37X and PC38X.


The PC38X is an update to the PC37X reviewed here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...nnheiser-pc37x-review-and-measurements.11072/ All of the great things I've said about the PC37X apply to the PC38X. The PC38X appears to be a tweaked PC37X that brings up the mids. This is a good thing for gaming because I felt the PC37X mids were just slightly recessed. The PC38X has less of that Sennheiser broad bass bump too.
As with other ZMF headphones, a number of pads will work with the Atrium. The only pads I've tried so far are the Universe, which I believe is the stock pad, and the Be pad. I have the Auteur pads too, but I haven't tried those yet. The Atrium also comes with some sort of mesh in front of the driver. I believe @zach915m has developed other mesh designs. Basically, there are some pre-set options to play with, as well as system synergies, thus a stream of consciousness approach would be best (basically when I have time to get to it or if somebody asks me to look into something specific).

In general, I would say that the Atrium is bassy and dark sounding headphone. There's a slight mid-bass boost (the bass is hefty and punchy). The lower and mid treble are muted, although there's some decent air, at least with the Universe pads. Unlike the Verite, there doesn't seem to be as much of a upper-mid depression, if there is any at all. Plankton seems to be on a similar level. Overall speed of transients isn't quite as fast, although the attacks are more biodyna crisp. Again, these are early and initial impressions (before any measurements were taken). FWIW, I have the Verite Closed headphone as part of my regular rotation of three or four - this going on for years now.

AmirNAD is 114db

Schiit Modi 3E
AmirNAD being defined as SINAD with a steady-stage 1kHz tone at 0dbFS output using 20kHz bandwidth using an APx555 with the cheat-mode High Performance Sine Analyzer turned on.


The Schiit Modi 3E at 114db AmirNAD is a bit off the pace. In Formula 1, the Modi 3E would finish near the back of the pack. Therefore if you believe that AmirNAD is a primary determinant of sound quality and state of the art-ness, then I could only somewhat recommend the Modi 3E. Part of what limits the 3E is that the powerplant isn't as good. The 9018 (or 9016) isn't anywhere as good as the ESS9038 parts used at the top. However, some credit should go to Schiit as they've betterered the prior AKM4490 based Modi 3+'s AmirNAD by 3db or so! ...

The Modi 3E slaughters its competition when it comes to AmirNAD per USD. It's not even close. In fact, scientifically and objectively speaking, we cannot hear anything different when AmirNAD is better than 110db. This said by the man himself (not I). Therefore there is no reason to get any other DAC if you looking at this objectively and belong in the cult of AmirNAD.
I had originally intended to add to @Vtory's review of the 2021 LCD-X here, but decided it would be worthwhile to start another thread. I've titled the thread 2022 to indicate approximate time period of this headphone and not necessarily to denote any specific model tweaks or improvements. @rhythmdevils may be able to provide more information for clarity. My experience with with the LCD-X is consistent with that of @Vtory's. This is a massive improvement over the OG LCD-Xs and with two samples performing at a high level perhaps this a strong indication that the variances of the OG LCD-X are a thing of the past?


To get things out of the way, the LCD-X subscribes to Audeze's stock tuning of laid-back upper mids. However, being of the Reference Line, it's less recessed, more toward neutral, than that of the LCD-2. Those who subscribe to Dr. Sean Olive's Headphone Target (rtings, ASR, etc.) may come away disappointed. The bass while hefty and extended, isn't boosted. The tuning from 2kHz-6khz, the presence region, is in fact opposite to the Harmon Target. People who like IEMs voiced for Chinese market or the Focal Utopia even, will very likely dislike the LCD-X's tonal signature. I'm not going to be one to judge for you, but I will say that Audeze's voicing has a lot of fans and hence why they've been successful for all these years.
I know there are $25,000 speakers out there, but there is also the orpheus, which would sell really well if it were on the market today. And there are a whole shitload of huge, well designed and implemented TOTL speakers in the $4k range that cost way more to make than any headphone with equal R$D and at least equal markups.

copied from a profile discussion that is worthy of a thread

The question I’m asking is why headphones cost so much more than speakers and why the markup is so much more. Why are people ok with this?

I have personally taken apart dozens of Audeze headphones. The LCD-5 is the cheapest headphone to manufacture that they’ve ever made by far yet their most expensive by far. No wood, which Sankar has personally said was the most difficult part of manufacture, no metal parts, it’s mostly plastic and very simple in construction. I would actually wonder whether the LCD-2 costs more to make than the LCD-5.

Over 1k iems are ridiculous.

I really think there is a fetishization of sorts happening that allows people (us included) to pay that much.

Ever heard of Lab12? Apparently it is a Greek hi-fi manufacturer established in 2012.
The first time I ever heard of them was just a couple months ago, when an audiophile I've been chatting with for a while mentioned the manufacturer and the dac in question. Supposedly it was much better than Soekris dac2541, which of course immediately sparked my interest. Lab dac1 reference's MSRP here is 2950€, which places it pretty close to other known qualities like Yggdrasil, Burl Bomber, DM Convert-2 etc.


The dac1 reference is based on eight Philips TDA1543 multi-bit chips, which are apparently older multi-bit chips meant for lower cost devices. This was actually the first time I got to listen a dac based on this particular dac chip, so I didn't know at all what to expect. Other related buzzwords are NOS and tube output. Actually, tube output in a dac was also something that I hadn't experienced before. Exciting times ahead!
WARNING: NSFW or anyone anywhere, except those under 9 years old.

This used out of warranty USB dildo broke from a Galvanic Isolator. At least that's what the person who owned it before me told me. They used it over two years, until the Galvanic Isolator attached to it got hot and destroyed the USB port. Now the company that made the USB dildo says this is impossible and won't help me! I asked for a XMOS part for self-repair, but they won't send that to me either! Can you guys help?


This is a $500 consumer electronic product that is not meant to be serviced by the consumer. If you really have the IT support experience you claim, you understand all too well that 98.874% of consumer electronic companies are not in any position to "just sell you an XMOS chip", and your intentionally being manipulative with this unreasonable request. Go source your own XMOS chip. Another reason to close your ticket. Your ticket is now closed and will not be reviewed any further.